Project Dreamscape Takes You to Leap Castle — the Most Haunted Castle in Ireland.
Leap Castle (pronounced lept) is home to one of the most famous oubliettes in history. It is also the home of many sinister tales, fascinating bouts of history dating back to the Druids, and something so evil and undefinable, it is known at “The Elemental”.
Let us start by saying the castle is not a tourist destination by any means. To visit you must make a request to Sean Ryan, the owner, who may or may not be available to accommodate you. He lives in a section of the castle and spends his days restoring it to its former glory–a true labor of love–and playing enchanting Irish folk music on his whistle.
We were fortunate enough to have him accept our request to visit. We were also lucky enough to meet Sean in person, and have him play some of his beautiful music for me. And yes he sells CDs, and yes, we did buy some.
During our visit, Vanta M. Black who is a member of Project Dreamscape and an author, told Sean how she was inspired to write her novel Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place after seeing a documentary Leap Castle. He told her there had been many shows made about his famous locale. After many stories from the past, we were eventually taken to the tower that housed the oubliette. We sat at the cusp and peered down as the story of the many victims were recited to us. Talk about a goose-bumply moment!
About the Oubliette
ou•bli•ette – noun: French, meaning “a forgotten little place”. An oubliette is a pit—a dungeon—where prisoners and undesirables are thrown and left to die.
The oubliette at Leap Castle is a type of dungeon that is surprisingly common in castles and forts. Often oubliettes have spikes at the bottom. The victim is thrown in, and may or may not be skewered on impact. If they were, their injuries might be serious enough to bring a mercifully, speedy death. If not, they could exist in agony until either their wounds did them in, or they died of thirst and starvation.
Located in what is known as the Bloody Chapel, the oubliette of Leap Castle is a modified storage chamber. The O’Carrolls, a ruthless family plagued with a brutal and bloody history, owned the castle for many years. They added a trap door and turned it into a chamber where they threw their enemies.
Indeed, it seems that the O’Carrolls were very prolific, or that perhaps the oubliette was used for sinister reasons before they came along–and after. In the 1920’s the oubliette was opened and the remains of over 150 individuals were uncovered. They rolled them out in wheelbarrows. A pocket watch dated from the mid 1800’s indicated that the oubliette may have been claiming victims much later than one might like to think.
About the Elemental
An elemental is thought to be a spirit that is primitive and earthy. Not quite human, and not entirely animalistic, it is a vial creature that resembles many entities in mythology. It shares similarities with demons, djinns, the hag, and other evil spirits.
The elemental at Leap Castle is suspected to be an entity summoned to this plane of reality by ancient Druid priests. The legend says that ancient rituals were performed on the site of Leap Castle, and something old, ancient, and evil was called forth during a blood sacrifice. Some speculate it was intended to protect the site from the Druid’s enemies. Others, that it was called forth accidentally when something went terribly wrong with the magic conjuring.
A former resident of Leap Castle, Mildred Darby, (The Darby family owned the castle after the O’Carrolls) was interested in the occult. A fashionable hobby in the 1920’s, Mildred held séances and experimented with automatic writing. Some speculate that her meddling provoked the elemental and caused it to appear.
Her famous, and horrifying encounter with the elemental is a major inspiration for Vanta M. Black’s book. Mildred wrote of her experience. The following account is taken from the Official Leap Castle website, which transcribed the account from the Occult Review:
Suddenly, two hands were laid on my shoulders. I turned round sharply and saw, as clearly as I see you now, a grey ‘thing’, standing a couple of feet from me, with its bent arms raised as if it were cursing me. I cannot describe in words how utterly awful the ‘thing’ was, its very undefinableness rendering the horrible shadow more gruesome. Human in shape, a little shorter than I am, I could just make out the shape of big black holes like great eyes and sharp features, but the whole figure–head, face, hands and all–was grey-unclean, blueish grey, something of the colour and appearance of common cotton wool. But, oh! so sinister, repulsive and devilish. My friends who are clever about occult things say it is what they call an “Elemental”…
If you would like to read her full account please visit the official Leap Castle website, here.
For further reading, we recommend the Official Website of Leap Castle. And if you are ever in Ireland, please give our friend Sean Ryan a call, and if you can, sit a spell and talk about the amazing mysteries of Leap Castle.